Scallops and Red Pepper Pasta

This recipe is a pure product of the internet. It started off as an email from my dear wife asking if scallops sounded good for dinner. Sure thing. I figured I’d just grill them up on skewers, but I wanted a new recipe for a side dish.

Googled grilled scallops – 291,000 results. On about the third page of search results I hit a scallops with roasted red pepper sauce recipe. Looks good, but  not quite it. Wait a minute, didn’t one of the food bloggers I read do a red pepper sauce that had cheese in it?

Google Reader to the rescue – Nibble Me This: Roasted Red Pepper & Feta Sauce for Pasta. Now that’s the ticket. Do I have all the ingredients it calls for? No, but I’m sure Chris won’t mind if I improvise a little ;).

Red Pepper Pasta

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
3 medium red bell peppers, cut in half, cored and seeded
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh goat cheese
8 ounces spaghetti noodles (gluten-free in this case)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika

Set your grill up for a direct cook over high (500°F) heat.

Put the peppers on the grill skin side down and roast until most of the skin has blackened (about 5 minutes). Flip and roast the other side until the flesh start to soften (about 3 minutes). Remove the peppers to a large zip-top bag and seal. Let them steam in the bag and cool while you get the rest of the ingredients cooking. Leave the grill up and running because you’ll do the scallops on it after the sauce is ready.

Start the water boiling for the pasta. Heat the oil in a 3 or 4 quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook until they start to soften (about 3 minutes). Remove from the heat and set aside.

Remove the peppers from the bag and peel off the charred skin. Give the peppers a rough chop and add to the onions and garlic. Add the stock, salt, pepper, and paprika and bring the stock to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat. Simmer for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat and, using an immersion blender or food processor, blend everything until it’s pureed. Return puree to the stove and bring to a simmer. Add the cheese and stir to combine. It should form a thick sauce, but feel free to add more stock to thin it or let it simmer for a bit to thicken.

When the sauce is to the right consistency, put a lid on it and turn the heat to low just to keep it warm.

Your pasta water should be boiling by now. Add the spaghetti and prepare according to the directions on the package.

While the pasta is cooking, prepare the scallops.

Scallop Skewers

1 1/2 pounds sea scallops
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
6-8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes

Rinse off the scallops and pat dry.  In a medium bowl, combine the scallops, oil, salt, and paprika. Mix well to coat.

Thread the scallops on the skewers, making sure to leave some space between them.

When the pasta is ready, put the scallops on grill. Cook on high heat for about 2 minutes. flip and cook for another 2 minutes, or just until they turn opaque. Scallops get tough if you over cook them, so pull them off a little early and let them finish cooking on the plate.

I served the scallops with the pasta covered in the red pepper sauce and a side of brussels sprouts.

The Verdict: ★★★★☆
The scallops were pretty much perfect – just a little browned on the outside and still very tender. The minimal seasoning really enhanced the flavor.

The red sauce was another story. It was good – sweet and smoky and robust, but it lacked zing. The goat cheese gave it a nice rich taste, but Chris’s recipe called for feta and I think that would have been a better pick.

BTW – brussels sprouts covered in red pepper sauce are almost edible!

4 thoughts on “Scallops and Red Pepper Pasta”

  1. Great looking meal! I would suggest roasting your peppers whole to retain more flavour. The juice is packed with flavour as well. I usually peel them over a strainer and bowl combo to catch the juice.

    Steve

  2. Sweet looking scallops! I haven’t made that sauce since then, I’m going to have to make up a batch again. I think you are right about the feta, it packs a punch, plus if I remember, it was one of those seasoned feta cheeses.

    Those skewers are perfect for scallops, no sliding around.

    1. Thanks for the inspiration. My dear wife took the leftover sauce, added some Italian sausage to it and we had another great meal from it. It’s something I’ll sure make again using feta.

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